Impossible

Your mission, should you choose to accept it
is to destabilise this villanelle.
This tape will self-destruct in 30 seconds.

It's showing dangerous signs of having form.
(That word - I hate it.) How else can I sell
your mission? Should you choose to accept it,

you'll have the gratitude of all the free
verse poets. If not, our lives will be pure hell.
This text will deconstruct in 20 seconds.

Just how you go about it's up to you.
It won't be easy, that much I can tell.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it

is undertaken voluntarily.
You know that. So do we. We can't compel...
This tape will self-destruct in ten seconds.

But we're counting on you; please don't let us down.
Best of luck, Jim - we hope that all goes well
with your mission, should you choose to accept it.
This tape will self-destruct...

© Peter Howard

first published in the Dulwich Poetry Competition Anthology 1997